Four exercise bikes, connected to a water infiltration system, have been set up along a canal in HCM City to help purify the canal’s water and raise public awareness about environmental protection. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Residents living near the polluted Nhieu Loc–Thi Nghe Canal in HCM City are performing a public service as they take turns spinning the wheels of a bicycle system designed to clean the canal’s dirty water.

The four bikes, connected to generators and a water filtration system, are part of a campaign sponsored by Bridgestone Tyre Sales Vietnam called “Keep River and Lakes Clean for a Better Life” to raise public awareness about environmental protection.

Local resident Ngo Tam, 59, a frequent visitor to the area, told Vietnam News that he now finally understood how difficult it was to purify raw water.

“It’s a lot easier to pollute than to purify. I was riding intensely for over an hour and only a cup of water was purified,” he said. “We can’t clean the entire canal with four bikes, but at least we’ve done something for the environment.”

Located near the bikes are several standard exercise bikes used by families in the neighbourhood. However, they haven’t garnered as much interest as the new “water-purifying bike system”.

The bike system works this way: As riders move the pedals, the generator is activated, which produces power that pumps water through a filter tank filled with sand, gravel and active charcoal, which absorbs pollutants and purifies the contaminated water.

The clean water is then released back into the canal.

L e Minh A nh Xu a n, 51, who has used the new bike system, said she felt good about doing her part in protecting the environment.

“I know that I can’t do much, but I feel proud that I can contribute to society,” she said.

Adults as well as children are enthusiastic about the bike system.

Many parents said the bikes helped their kids not only engage in an active lifestyle but also educated them about social responsibilities.

“I love it when I see the clean water released into the canal,” said 11-year-old Nguy e n Ng o c Anh. “It motivates me to do something meaningful in the future, too!”

As the bike system appears to be a hit with local residents, many families agree that similar bikes should be set up around the city to spread the positive environmental message.

“This project shouldn’t end up as a fad, but become part of a green lifestyle that everyone should embrace,” T a m said.

Tr uo ng V a n Di nh, 48, a resident in the neighbourhood, suggested that the city authorities make the bikes slimmer and attach higher-quality locks to prevent theft.

Ch e Di nh L y of the city’s Institute for Environment and Resources told the Tu o i Tr e (Youth) News newspaper that, because of the limited city budget, city authorities could seek funds from private investors to promote the project.

Investors, for example, could advertise their products or services on the cycling machines, he said.

Begun in April, the “Keep River and Lakes Clean for a Better Life” campaign aims to stress the importance of clean water to people’s daily lives and encourage citizens not to throw litter and other items into canals and rivers.

Besides the water-purifying bike system, Bridgestone Vietnam has organised other environmental protection activities, including clean-up of canals and collection of rubbish in rivers.-VNA